How to Safeguard Your Industrial Garage Doors from Wild, Windy Weather
Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Tropical storms. We don’t like to think about these weather extremes and the trails of devastation they can leave behind. Even the mild ones that roll by without causing too much damage are still powerful enough to make us tremble. But ignoring them altogether is not the answer. Doing so leaves us unprepared and more vulnerable to their effects.
It’s obvious to take precautionary measures with our homes, such as the boarding up of windows and stowing away of items that may turn into flying debris. But if you own a warehouse complex, are you taking the same steps? Would you say that your warehouse is ready for extreme winds that may strike your area? If not, you need to act now by fortifying its structures including its overhead industrial doors, windows, and waste bins to prevent damage that can result from intense weather.
You might reason that it’s pointless to defend your property against nature. However, the reason why so many people deal with terrible consequences is due to a lack of forethought and planning. What you do now will drastically affect what you’ll have to put up with if extreme weather hits.
You’re Not Immune
Some geographical regions are well-known for their bad weather. The southern United States (Florida, Louisiana, etc.) and Caribbean islands are notorious for getting battered by hurricanes every summer and fall. The midwestern states (Oklahoma, Kansas, etc.), which happen to make up the infamous region known as “Tornado Alley”, receives its fair share of twisters which often cause significant damage.
If you live here in southern Ontario, you might feel somewhat immune to such catastrophe. After all, we don’t get a whole lot of newsworthy weather except for the occasional the flood or ice storm (both of which occurred last year). But a few reminders of recent events will help you appreciate that you’re not as invincible as you think.
Hurricane Sandy in 2012
Remember in the fall of 2012, when hurricane Sandy – the largest Atlantic storm on record – strolled along the Eastern seaboard wreaking havoc on homes, power lines, and subway lines in the U.S. (namely in New York)? Ontarians (as well as Quebecers and Maritimers) felt the effects. For example, there was one death in Toronto, and in Mississauga the winds knocked down hydro poles and trees, and caused heavy flooding due to broken water mains. So for those of you who think hurricanes are a tropical thing, think twice!
2014 Tornado Outbreaks in Southern Ontario
You don’t have to go too far back in the past to hear reports of extreme weather in Ontario. Over the past few weeks, tornadoes have ripped through towns in southern Ontario. On June 17th, a tornado touched down in Angus, Ontario, significantly damaging around 20-30 homes in the town. A week later on the 24th, another twister touched down in New Tecumseth, Ontario. So as you can see, this so-called “safe haven” is by no means immune to the effects of bad weather.
Garage Door Countermeasures
For the most part, the construction material found within your facility should be strong enough to withstand above-average wind speeds. You can board up windows and secure loose items so that they don’t fly away. However, your garage doors are not as easy to protect. They are also more likely to succumb to damage, due to their flexibility (after all, they move). You need to put extra effort to keep them safe. Fortunately, there is a way.
Wind-Load Rated Doors
The answer to this dilemma rests with your garage door installation – go for wind-load rated doors. When faced with extreme winds, garage doors (both commercial and residential) are known to be the primary way for damage to accumulate on the property. Debris can puncture the structure, dent it, break windows or unhinge it completely. However, wind-load rated doors are specifically designed to withstand intense wind gusts and remain in place. Thanks to vigorous testing and unique engineering, these doors can take a beating from flying objects and sheer wind speeds without buckling. Depending on your budget and time, you might want to invest in overhead industrial doors that are wind-loaded, so that you can limit the damage potential if a storm strikes your area.
Another line of defense against high winds is the installation of high impact windows for your garage doors. There’s no question that glass structures are the weakest, when faced with extreme winds. However, windows that are labelled as ‘high impact’ have the ability to withstand high gusts, and they are great additions if you want protect your garage even further. They too are heavily tested and specially designed to remain intact even when struck with debris.
Developing an Action Plan
You’ve most likely heard the term “action plan” before, especially when dealing with something that needs to be changed or protected. When it comes to your warehouse, you will need such a plan if you are to prepare for approaching storms.
- Have Your Facility Inspected – There are a few ways you can go about doing this. If you are knowledgeable enough, you can carry out your own examination to detect potential flaws with your warehouse structure. However, it’s advisable that you hire a professional inspector to do this job, since they are more abreast with current building codes and procedures.
- Find a Place to Relocate Items if Necessary – Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to fully protect your property from weather extremes. Some of your valuables may be difficult to replace if they are damaged. If they are small enough, you can temporarily relocate them to a safer location. Doing so may protect your equipment or machinery if winds (and water) somehow manage to cause internal damage.
- Double Check Your Insurance Policies – Always verify your insurance policies and statements, whether it’s for your business, car, or home. Many people are surprised to learn that their provider covers (or doesn’t cover) a certain type of loss. They end up spending a ton of money they don’t have to, and it’s something they could have prevented had they done their research. You wouldn’t want to put yourself into such a hole, so make sure that you’re aware of what your insurance company takes care of.
Keep Your Business and Your Livelihood Intact
What do you like to visualize in your spare time? Perhaps you see yourself laying in the sand on a Caribbean island, with the turquoise waters hitting your feet. Or maybe you see yourself ripping down the highway in a new coupe, thanks to a good year in revenue. You probably don’t entertain the imagery of storms tearing through your neighbourhood, levelling buildings, and carrying debris miles away. But these events do happen and they can affect you and your business. So plan ahead. Take a look at your warehouse and try to locate any weak points that could be detrimental to the overall strength of your facility. Consider all areas – beams, windows, walls, ceilings as well as your overhead industrial doors.
You might be surprised to find that one of these structures is not up to par, and that means you’ll have to fortify them so that they can withstand the elements. It’s best for you to address these issues sooner than later. As a reminder, don’t think that being a resident in a southern Ontario city (i.e. Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville) will give you immunity from severe weather. Many people in these areas have had their lives turned upside down because of a tornado or hurricane.
We’re entering a season of warmer weather, which is an ingredient for severe storms. You never know if or when your area might get hit, and you wouldn’t want to be caught off guard. So do your utmost to prepare your business facility against heavy winds. Your livelihood depends on it!
Still wondering if there’s anything else you can do to protect your garage doors? Get in touch with us so that we can answer your questions!